When we speak of a haunting, we usually think of old houses and abandoned buildings. But ghosts and other malevolent forces are also said to inhabit other objects, including cars. Today, there are a handful of automobiles that are said to have been cursed by ghosts, unexplained forces, or simply shrouded in mystery.
Of course, like many spooky stories, these “haunted” vehicles are mainly urban legends passed down from one person to another. But regardless of whether they are true or just a figment of the human imagination, the stories behind them will definitely send a chill up your spine.
Bonnie and Clyde’s 1932 Ford Model 18 V8
In the early 1930’s, outlaw couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went through a crime spree across the American Midwest, committing nearly a dozen robberies and killing both civilians and policemen. That spree ended in May 1934, when the couple was ambushed by a posse of law enforcement officers while driving a stolen 1932 Ford V8 in Biennville Park, Lousiana. According to official reports, the officers fired a total of 130 bullets at the vehicle, killing both Bonnie and Clyde and leaving the stolen Ford in a bullet-riddled mess.
81 years after Bonnie and Clyde’s death, their infamous V8 now lies behind a glass case at Whiskey Pete’s casino in Primm, Nevada. The car has more or less remained in its Swiss cheese-like state, with finger-sized bullet holes found mostly on the windows and radiator, although the doors have been tied shut and the blood stains on the interior have faded considerably. Many of the people who have viewed the V8 have also reported experiencing a creepy unnatural feeling standing near it, with several who have taken photographs of the car claiming to have seen strange objects in their pictures.
The 1964 Dodge 330 Limited Edition “Golden Eagle”
Although it may not be as famous as Bonnie and Clyde’s ride, the “Golden Eagle” is certainly more terrifying as it has been reported to have killed more than a dozen people. It was originally a police car in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, but the car changed hands several times over the course of its life after gaining a notorious reputation. According to legend, three police officers who drove the car killed themselves and their families in bizarre murder-suicides, while another four people were struck by lightning after driving the car. Several people who also vandalized the Golden Eagle in the 1980s and 90s were said to have died in horrific car crashes.
Today, the Golden Eagle lies in pieces after a church group, who claimed a demon was living in the car, stole it in 2010, chopped it up, and distributed the parts to various junkyards. Several of the parts have been recovered but the current, although this time it might seem the Golden Eagle may rest in peace for good.
James Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder
Source: Motor Authority
James Dean was the poster boy of teenage rebellion in the 1950s: playing troubled youths in films such as “East of Eden” and “Rebel Without a Cause”, Dean was also an avid auto racing fan with a penchant for high-speed races. And it was his love for fast cars that led to his demise in 1955, when Dean fatally crashed his Porsche 550 Spyder on his way to Salinas, California. The crushed remains of Spyder were later acquired by Dean’s friend and famous car modder George Barris, who dismantled the vehicle’s parts and sold it to other drivers. The engine and the drivetrain were sold to two doctors, who later entered the cars carrying the parts in a race in Pomona, California. And in a strange twist of fate, both cars crashed during the race and killed one of the drivers.
Source: Daily Mail
Barris said he started to believe in the curse after the accidents and handed over the Spyder to the California Highway Patrol, but this led to even more misfortune. The garage where the car was first displayed burnt down, and it had a habit of breaking from its restraints during transport and causing additional injuries and fatalities to people nearby. Finally, the Highway Patrol decided to return the vehicle to Barris, but it mysteriously vanished off the back of the truck while en route and has never been seen since.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s 1911 Graf & Stift Limousine
Anyone who sat through history class knows World War I started when Archduke Franz Ferdinand I was assassinated in June 28, 1914. But what most people don’t know was that he was killed when his car, a 1911 Graf & Stift open-air limousine, broke down on the street. According to the story, Ferdinand survived an assassination attempt earlier that day and was headed to a hospital to visit the injured when his car stalled. In a stroke of bad luck, one of the would-be assassins sitting at a nearby café recognized the Archduke, walked up to the car, and shot Ferdinand and his wife in the head and throat.
Source: The Telegraph UK
The gravity of the Archduke and his wife’s deaths was said to have been so grave that it cursed the limousine, posing harm to anyone who sat in front of its steering wheel. 20 years after Ferdinand’s assassination, the limo was owned by 15 different people and caused the deaths of 13 of them. One owner became insane and died in an asylum, while another crashed into two people and a tree only nine days after buying it. And these don’t count the approximately 17 million deaths in the Great War triggered by Ferdinand’s murder. Eventually, the limousine ended up in the War History Museum in Vienna where it resides as a permanent display to this day.
President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Lincoln Convertible
Franz Ferdinand is not the last state leader to die in a car seat. In November 22, 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed while riding a navy blue 1961 Lincoln 74A open-air limousine as part of his motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Today the exact the nature of the assassination is still a center of controversy, but what many agree on was that Kennedy’s limousine, codenamed “SS-100-X” by the Secret Service, was ill-equipped to protect the president. Although it has hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of modifications, including placing an additional “hidden” seat at the passenger cabin, none of it was allocated to making the car bulletproof.
Strangely enough, the SS-100-X was kept in service for another 8 years after Kennedy’s death, gaining several upgrades such as titanium armor plating, bullet-resistant glass, and a permanent bulletproof roof. The navy blue paint was also covered with black as Kennedy’s successor, President Lyndon Johnson, felt the original color was too much of a reminder of the assassination. But despite these changes, the tragedy still lingers around the convertible in the form of the paranormal. Visitors looking at the SS-100-X in its display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan have reported seeing an apparition dressed in gray standing beside the car, particularly in late November.
Got any spooky stories to tell about your car? Share them in the comments!